Tiger Woods plays practice round at the Hero: ‘It’s just remarkable’ being pain-free

November 26, 2017

Tiger Woods played an efficient and pain-free practice round at the site of this week’s Hero World Challenge on Sunday in the Bahamas.

According to Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard, Woods used a cart and played in 2 hours, 10 minutes and “looked relaxed and fit.” Caddie Joe LaCava was also on site.

Woods makes his much-anticipated return to competitive golf at the Hero, a no-cut, 18-player event run by his foundation. He hasn’t played since he withdrew from the Dubai Desert Classic in early February and had a fourth back surgery in April.

Speaking to reporters after his round Sunday, Woods said he was “a little surprised” with his swing — in a good way.

“The fact that I don’t have any pain in my lower back compared to what I was living with for years, it’s just remarkable,” he said.

As if Woods’s return wasn’t enough for golf fans, rumors have swirled over the last couple of weeks hinting that the 14-time major champ is feeling good and hitting the ball a long way. Rickie Fowler ignited it by saying Woods was hitting it “way by” him during practice rounds, and Brad Faxon recently told Golfweek that Woods outdrove Johnson on about half of his drives during a round they played with President Trump on Friday.

“(This week) could be the next step; I just don’t know and that’s tough to live with,” Woods said Sunday. “It’s been a struggle for years. To finally come out on the good side of it, it’s exciting. I am stiffer, I’m fused. But I don’t have the pain and if I don’t have the pain, life is so much better.”

The first round of the Hero is Thursday. Tee times have yet to be announced.